Many people living with HIV and AIDS in Africa not only suffer physical pain, but endure social isolation as well. Decades after HIV and AIDS first surfaced, many of those diagnosed with the condition are still stigmatized. In Burkina Faso, patients living in rural areas are isolated from those people who may best support them. The bumpy roads and grueling walks can discourage even the most well-intentioned volunteer. That’s why HIV and AIDS advocates based in the West African country embraced the Bike for AIDS initiative last November.
Bike for AIDS in Burkina Faso distributes bicycles and bicycle ambulances (bikes outfitted with stretchers) to community organizations. The bikes get patients to and from the hospital and make it easier for volunteers to visit patients in their homes.
Bike for AIDS is already well established in Malawi. WUSC field staff and Uniterra volunteers work alongside community organizations to train volunteers in HIV and AIDS education, reach out to communities and offer care and support to HIV patients and their families.
Thanks to the financial support of the Canadian Medical Foundation, 15 bikes were distributed to two Uniterra partner organizations : Responsabilité-Espoir Vie (Rev+) and Solidarité et Entraide Mutuelle au Sahel (SEMUS).
At Rev+, volunteers are trained to offer psychosocial support and use the bikes to reach out to communities in need. SEMUS trains residents to provide psychosocial support as a way to educate the community about HIV and AIDS and to fight against stigmatization.
Click here to make a donation to Bike for AIDS.